Saturday, June 25, 2005

Retirements at LANL

A comment from the

http://lanl-the-real-story.blogspot.com/2005/06/figures-from-latest-eb-meeting.html

post:

I had the same experience with trying to make an appointment. I have been on a waiting list for over a month with no contact from HR. E-mail inquiries to the Benefits office have received an automated "we are swamped, please be patient" type of response. Even an e-mail to UC with a simple question about COLAs received an automated response that they are under an extreme backlog and it would be approximately one week before they could answer the question. To their credit they did answer in about one week. The miniscule retirement numbers projected by HR just don't seem to jive with what we are experiencing in our interactions with the Benefits office. Also, we continue to hear from managers (Kuckuck included) that "retention" is a top priority. Why? Do they know something about departures that we don't and are simply not allowed to share the information? Just in my limited interactions, I know 15 people retiring, 3 Group Leaders that have quit, and 2 more that are getting ready to quit. Something is wrong!



Comments:
A fellow retiree told me that he had taken his $100 certificate for his LANL going-away retirement gift piece of Nambe ware into the Nambe shop in Pojoaque last week. The clerk told him that LANL had advised the shop to be prepared soon for 1,500 customers.
 
On the DOE RFP official site, they posted a table of LANL employees age vs. yrs. of service (date: May 2005). There are only about 900 who are 55+ with 20 or more years of service. I would say that those are the available pool of retirees. Maybe there could be a few others, but no more than 100.

Therefore, a reasonable estimate is 1000.

Ref: http://www.doeal.gov/lanlcontractrecompete/QuestionsAndResponses.htm
 
DX-3 just had a retirement party for 8 people. I hear that there are even more coming up.
 
X-division seems to be having several retirement parties too.
 
One reaches retirement age at 50 with UC. The number could well be higher than 1,000. I know of several people who retired @50 in order to go somewhere else to work.
 
Hmmm....$60M additional operating fee + $100M for pension contributions + $132M for gross receipts = approx 1000 FTE's. Crazy...like a fox.
 
Our group is having retirement parties two and three at a time. The Division Managers don't even show up for the GLs retirement parties.
 
There are certainly a lot of retirement parties but not in the numbers originally projected. The number I heard from HR is about 300 total for the Lab. One person in our group decided to not retire now and will wait until next May instead. Depending on the award announcement I would expect about 1000 next May unless UC wins and does something else to entice employees to not retire right away. Of course we don't know if NNSA will let them do that but it sure makes sense to me.
 
Speaking of retention, what about the crappy raises we received last year? The national inflation rate was 3.3% and the average raise at LANL was 1.45%.
 
DOE thinks we're over paid. I think that trend will continue until inflation reduces our salaries to more "acceptable" levels by DOE.
 
I'm a 55-ish, 25+ year TSM: no one has asked me in any formal way (survey, confidential discussion with group leader etc.) whether I plan to retire. When I work the numbers, it seems to my benefit to wait until the end of the transition period (end of June 2006), i.e. not pick up the cola at end of June this year. I wonder how many others like me plan to retire just before the end of the transition period (assuming UC does not retain the contract) but have not been asked?
 
To 6/26/2005 07:40:16 AM, plenty, I am there too.
 
It seems pretty clear to me that the choke-point which was restricting the number of retirees who wanted to leave before July 1 this year was the ability of HR to process people. The 8 month extension was good in that it will give people plenty of time to decide, and HR, with its limited resources will have sufficient time to process those who decide to go.
 
To 6/25/2005 11:46:32 AM, good estimate, however, if you move one tier up to include 50+ age and one tier left to include 15+ service the number doubles to over 2000. I am not saying that is going to happen because in reality there will be some unknown mix of factors for people to leave or stay. A 50/15 may retire and a 60/30 may stay. Interesting days ahead.
 
One commentor said that s/he "had not been asked" about retirement by management. That seems to be the way it is being done. The concept of succession planning is indeed unknown at LANL. Of course, all of those old, overpaid, white men can easily be replaced by new graduates. Of course, there is a minor problem with most of the new PhDs in science and technology not being citizens, but that can be overcome in about five years.
 
09:57

I too am optimistic that our national leadership will get a clue within the next 12 months and effect a solution to a problem that will take a minimum of 4 years to address.

Hmmm.. maybe that green chile in my breakfast burrito wasn't green chile after all. Hey! I'm qualified to be a manager!
 
As someone who cannot retire, I continue to see ominous problems arriving
at LANL sometime shortly after the new contract is awarded. Management
fees may cost around $80 million. The new GRT pay-outs to the state and
county governments may be another $60 million. During Brooks' visit to
LANL in mid-June, he made it very clear that both of these amounts will
not be paid by DOE. They will be coming out of the LANL operating budget!

That means around $140 million will be slashed from LANL's current
$2 billion budget (~7%). Hopefully, any additional costs for the new
LANL Corp. pension will not be directly borne by LANL.

Brooks also mentioned that funding for the years 2007-2012 within the
DOE complex look troubling. These comments are in the latest LANL
Newsbulletin. Pair that with news that (1) LDRD is likely to be cut,
(2) the new WSR funding source that many scientists are now turning to will
likely decline in follow-on years, and (3) we have been told that ASC
is now headed for significant funding cuts starting next year.

Adding it all up, I see a definite chance of a RIF coming sometime in
FY 2007 or early FY 2008. DOE and the politicians may say they
value the scientists at LANL, but that won't stop the likelihood of
a RIF. The unknown here are the retirements. I'm guessing around
15% of the lab will eventually retire by June 2006. However, as some
have observed, many of these retirees are "funding producers", so it's
not clear just how much will be saved in the budget by their leaving.
Also, many of the retirees are planning to come back to LANL to
work part-time. However, LANL rules will largely keep them in the
role of mentors, and not project managers, so they will be a funding
drain and not a funding source.

I would be very interested in hearing some other analysis of this
situation (and not just pithy remarks). Do the next few years at
LANL really look this bleak? Are we likely to start hearing of
a "workforce restructuring" plan (i.e., RIF) within the near future?
Many of the staff who can't retire are eyeing this situation and
trying to decide whether to leave now are stick it out. What are
some likely forecasts for LANL's funding over the next few years?
Personally, I don't want to go through the fear and doubt of another
ugly RIF like the one we had back in 1995, but am becoming increasingly
concerned that our current trajectory is heading in that very direction.
 
I'm in the same boat as you, 11:35.

"Do the next few years at
LANL really look this bleak?"

Yes. I have the same fears as you and I agree with your analysis.

"Are we likely to start hearing of
a "workforce restructuring" plan (i.e., RIF) within the near future?"

I suspect that will be so, but not until AFTER the contract is awarded.

"Many of the staff who can't retire are eyeing this situation and trying to decide whether to leave now or stick it out."

My feeling is that it is better for us to leave now than during a RIF. If a RIF happens, housing prices will crash. Even worse than they are now. All compatible jobs outside of LANL will be flooded with LANL RIF applicants. Forget going to LLNL or NM universities.

It is always far better and safer to be one of the first to evacuate a sinking ship than to be one in the middle with a panic-stricken mob or to be one of the last...

Good luck to you.
 
I suspect the future at LANL will be pretty grim compared to what is used to in the past. The whole point of outsourcing is to lower the cost of labor and yield a profit to some company. Unless you are the owner of that company, expect a lower salary and fewer benefits, sort of along the line of what current contractors to LANL receive. And in the world of privatization Phds in science are labor. Of course LM will do very well.
The gross receipts tax will help the county with its budget which is about the only positive thing I can think of. I don't think that will lower the number of people working at LANL though, I wouldn't be surprised to see the mission and budget grow, once it is firmly in the hands of Lockheed Martin which is partially owned by the Bush family. I expect Halliburton with its non-service is probably safe as well. As I heard one of their managers braging in the Central Avenue Grill one day, "Our connections in the White House are so good, we have nothing to worry about."
I don't expect LDRD funds to remain research oriented. They have been increasingly forced to support mission related research for years. I expect those funds to become just like other funds, no matter what the law says.
Lots of people will quit or retire, but UT and Texas A&M have new fresh graduates each year who I am sure would be happy to come to LANL where they will fit in nicely with a lot of other Texas alums who are already here. Yale, Princeton, and Cornell? Not so many will be coming here, but who cares if the whole place turns into a production facility?
I expect we won't see any RIFs until the new company takes over. LANL can barely keep its head above water with the losses it has already incurred. But realize, that many projects at LANL haven't achieved their milestones in years. Failure to achieve milestones has never been a problem at LANL. Just move the milestone forward or don't and say you did. We have seen plenty of both over the years.
I do think there will be a RIF when the new company takes over. First of all they will need to show everybody who's both. Nothing like a RIF or a public firing or two to make everybody line up and say Aye, Aye, Sir -- ( sorry about the reference to the former director). Then there will probably be some employees who don't do what the new company has in mind to do. IT people, for instance, have been on the verge of being outsourced for years. They might be the ones to go. Or maybe geologists, who aren't really all that valuable for a production facility. Those in T Division should worry. So should anyone who has had a documented dispute with his or her management.
In the end, the entire process will be painful for all who have been here all these years. It will be hard on families of those who work here. It won't be good for science. The housing market will dip for a while, but will come back for those who can hold on until the transition is over.
The pain will be felt locally and the rest of the country, will hardly notice, except the ones who know how much money we make at Los Alamos and who have been jealous for years. The politicians will brag about what a good catch the new company was and how they have saved the government so much money -- by lowering labor costs among other things.
I am not sure that I think things will be more efficient. We always hear that about industry, but that isn't really the case in industries that live off of govenment contracts. Consider Boeing, for instance, which is definitely not efficient or even marketable any more.
Let's face it government contractors get their contracts by paying off politicians -- mostly through campaign contributions and job promises for life-after-industry. Where is the incentive for efficiency or productivity? So, have fun while you work for UC. The party will be over soon.
It has happened all over the country. The UC labs are the last bastions of government science.
 
If the bidding is indeed fixed, and the competition merely a show, everyone with evidence of that should be putting it in a safe place. That way, one could hope the House and/or Senate flip to the other party in 2006, and there can be an investigation of the alleged massive fraud. Or, bring the evidence forward now. Or is this all rumor and scandal-mongering? I do not know. I've been on source selection panels, and if you do not vote for the contractor with the political connection, trust me, you are pressured by the panel chair. Eisenhower was right. The military/industrial complex is in charge. LANL is the last thing keeping anyone awake at night in DC.
 
Here's my best forecast for the labs future:

(1) If you do basic science, or work for Divisions like T, CCS, perhaps CCN,
perhaps N or ISR, then you need to worry. Anyone who works at bringing in
their own funding, either through the DOE's Office of Science, or through
Work-for-Others, should also be very worried. You can expect Office of
Science funding to begin decreasing next year. The new management costs and
GTR taxes will be charged directly to your programs. With reduced funding,
you can expect the ADs and high level PMs to start looking to increase their
income situation by heavier taxation of any money that still makes it into
the lab. From a long term perspective, this will hurt many programs.
However, short term, our top level management (be it UC/Bechtel or LM)
will be desperate for new income sources. WFO work will become virtually
impossible to justify at these new levels of cost. Office of Science
funding will support fewer and fewer FTEs per given dollar. This area
looks particularly bleak. I wish I could say otherwise.

(2) If you do Stockpile Stewardship work, you should know that many top
level managers who have praised your work as being at the core of the lab's
mission will now be ready to dump you quickly, since the DOE now seems to
be souring on this mission. The decrease in SS funding will hurt many
divisions that support this work, including X Division. The drop off
in SS funding will remind many old-timers of the period when the lab
suddenly dropped another "core" mission - Star-Wars. Does anyone still
remember the big Free Electron Laser program? As Yogi Berra used to say,
"it's going to be deja-vu all over again".

(3) Eventually, funding for Reliable Robust Warheads (RRW) may appear
at the lab, but just how much funding will be devoted to this new program is
in doubt. Besides, RRW will be more of an engineering project than a science
based project. If you work on the engineering side of the nuke programs,
then you will probably be OK. I would think that the RRW program might
also help divisions like DX and ESA.

(4) I have no clear idea what the future holds for some other science
divisions, such as C, MST, and P. I'm not as familiar with their funding
sources. Perhaps they will be OK during this turbulent period - anyone
got some forecasts on how these divisions will make it through the crisis?

(5) Environmental clean-up, health and safety, security, and surety: these
divisions, which have never really had to compete for their funding, will be
sacrosanct. If you work in any one of these divisions, congratulations!
You'll have no problem making it through the next few years. DOE will
see to it that you remain well funded. If you are lacking in funds,
DOE will move the funding from science programs over into your side of
the budget. Enjoy! Oh, and try to ignore the angry stares you get from
the rest of the staff who will be suffering during this period. It is
my understanding that divisions such as these went through a big uptick
in hiring after a new "for-fee" contract was put in place at SRL during
the mid-90s. I wouldn't be suprised to see the same scenario play out
here at LANL. If it does, then the housing depression on the Hill will
quickly end. If you are a science-based TSM living on the Hill and
unhappy with your job, this will be your opportunity to leave town.

(6) If you work in SUP, then you may be in for a shock. Expect more
work to be contracted out in the future. The trend in industry is to
contract out almost all support functions, and almost everything is
being called a "support" function these days. However, if you do
support work through a big contractor (like Halliburton/KSL), then you
may have nothing to worry about. Just keep sending bundles of campaign
cash to your friends in DC and you'll have no further problems. One
caveat here, though. If UC wins, they'll likely keep KSL, as Halliburton
and Bechtel are reasonably comfortable with each other. Bechtel has
even been giving sub-contracts to Halliburton over in Iraq of late.
If LM wins, they'll probably want to dump KSL and bring in their own set
of facilities sub-contractors.

(7) Any RIF will initially effect TSMs, as they are the highest cost labor
at the lab. After TSMs have been laid off during the first round, expect
a second round of layoffs to hit SSMs, TECs, OSes, etc. That's how
it happened during the 95-96 RIF at LANL, as I recall. The probability
for a RIF looks to be be high sometime after the new contractor comes
on board, as they will have the freedom to clean house. However, don't
expect it to be called a lay-offs, RIFs, or any other term you've heard
before. They will make up a new term and try to institute the layoffs
as quietly as possible. You will start noticing that people begin to
dissapear from their jobs at LANL.

(8) Once we get through this crisis, the lab will look very different.
Those people who dislike the idea of a plutonium pit production facility
at LANL will be singing a different tune by late in the decade. We
will crave the big increases in jobs it could bring. If it gets built
at LANL, then the lab will start looking more and more like ORNL with
its Y-12 facility. By 2012, the housing depression may finally be over
on the Hill.


One thing you may notice fairly quickly at the lab is that many of your
fellow workers who want to remain employeed at this lab will soon begin
looking for positions with greater job security. I'm already seeing
people make, or at least think about making, strategic moves throughout
the lab.

Our future is not especially bright, but that's how I see it. Much of
the ground breaking science will die (as it has been dieing over the last
few years), but the name "Los Alamos" will still have historical resonance.
I wish the best to everyone during the coming crisis. Good luck, and try
to keep your stress at manageable levels. Stress can kill you, and this
lab is certainly not worth dieing for.
 
That was a very sad posting. We just had ( Dec-Feb) 10 Layoffs at NTS
 
6/26/2005 07:03:16 PM certainly was a pessimistic posting. I don't feel nearly so pessimistic, having watched the disease at LANL take hold over the last 10 years, I think we have real potential.

I wasn't really wild about the recompete, particularly since it seemed to be initiated by the politicians in Washington, who don't have a great record of solving problems well.

But having gone through the horrible last two years with Nanos at the helm, crashing our ship into one set of rocks after another, all the while blaming the crew down below, I think we have huge potential.

The Gross Receipts tax and management fee is going to be an issue, but SNL hasn't gotten to walk on it and is, by many accounts, thriving, so I don't see how LANL is so different that we're just going to curl up our toes and die because of this.

The horrendous inefficiency in procurement, HR, facilities (including, if not especially KSL) borders on astounding. Fixing this by making these functions productive, proactive, efficient and turning their customers from the "regulations" to the Laboratory, could potentially save enough money each year to pay the GRT and management fee easily.

Throw in functional, lean, efficient program management and I think we could save that amount over again. Tarantino's organization has grown like a weed and is now bigger than I could ever imagine it would be. There are gobs of people in that program "office" that I have no idea what they do, but one thing is for sure: they're about controlling funding, not understanding the work or doing the work.

There's so much low-hanging fruit for fixing at LANL it's hard to know where to begin.

It is likely to be painful for a lot of the organizations that have been allowed to self-manage themselves into serving as useless impediments to the mission--and the front-line employees are going to suffer for the failures of the institution.

I'm sure a lot of those folks come in to work trying to do a good job, but SUP, HR, PM and PADNWP are so massive, hide-bound and clueless about who their customer is and what the mission is that there has been little hope that good people could do a good job.

Now let's add to this mix the ghastly management information systems available to these same organization to operate the business, and almost all hope of efficiency is extinguished. Just try to write PR, or check on the status of a new-hire, or see what your spending is against your budget, or see who is charging against your budget that shouldn't be (and should never have been able to) and you'll see what a nighmare our systems are.

Oh, and lets not forget the fabulous, $100M+ "Enterprise System" with it's bewildering user interface, and near-requirement to use the 4+ year old Internet Explorer, with it's hundreds of security vulnerabilities and desparate dependence on Windows--with many more vulnerabilities, and we'll see we've been pouring more money down the LANL MIS rat-hole.

The damage to programs a 12 week procurement for services incurs is not accounted for directly. We all see lost opportunity every day, and if this were fixed by competent management, the benefits to the institution would be huge.

We have a top-fuel dragster of a national laboratory, sitting burning rubber while securely chained to a 10,000 lb block of bureacracy, moving little while spending gobs of effort to do it.

Revitalizing LANL is going to hurt these dinasaur organizations, and the people who work for them, sadly. But it's either do this, or continue to watch the body of the institution die from the necrosis brought on by UC's non-management.
 
To 6/26/2005 07:03:16 PM, you put a lot of thought and effort into this posting. Your guess is as good as any on a lot of the points. However, I believe item #5 may be off the mark due to the partners in the bidding that have strong environmental clean-up ties. I think that no matter who wins, the environmental elements of the old Lab will dwindle to a skeleton crew while these other companies take a prominent role. Also, if you remember the original RFP, environmental work was going to be separate. Then, miraculously, environmental work found its way back into the RFP. Gee, I wonder why. More politics and money changing hands?

To 6/26/2005 09:06:49 PM, "We have a top-fuel dragster of a national laboratory, sitting burning rubber while securely chained to a 10,000 lb block of bureacracy, moving little while spending gobs of effort to do it." The problem is the 10,000 lb block of bureacracy is NOT the Lab, it is DOE. Unfortunately, LANL created its own bureacracy to respond to the mother-of-all-bureacracies, DOE. This will not change unless DOE is removed from the equation.
 
"...Of course, all of those old, overpaid, white men can easily be replaced by new graduates..."

If that happens 9:57, LANL might have to do a "Welch Study" again to see how the salaries look after those guys leave.
 
It is not clear to me how much Sandia has taken out of its operating
budget for its management fee. Is it anything like $60 to $80 million?
DOE raised the profit by a wide margin in the RFP to get parties interested
in running LANL. The SNL fee may be much lower. As far as GRT at SNL,
I believe that DOE originally paid it for SNL, but that now it comes out of
the SNL operating budget. Is this true? And how much does SNL pay out
in GRT and management fees each year? Anyone at SNL know these figures?

If LANL can achieve some big efficiencies in its operations, then
the new fees could be managed. However, I don't have nearly as much
optimism as Poster 9:06 pm that the inefficiencies will be eliminated.
People have jobs and positions to protect. The easiest path will be
to simply dump the increases in costs on top of existing programs.
This will result in fewer FTEs being available to do the technical work.
On top of the new fees, it appear that programmatic money for big
programs like Stockpile Stewardship are going to be cut in the next
few years. And as Poster 11:35 am states, Brooks is talking about LESS
money being available for the NNSA complex in the next five years.
However, I did enjoy the cheery outlook of Poster 9:06 pm. I hope
you are right in your analysis. I would dearly love to see this lab
cut lose from our stifling bureaucracy and race down the track at
record breaking speed. History at LANL and the DOE, however, leads
me to believe this will never happen.
 
Anonymous at 6/26/2005 10:40:00 PM writes "If LANL can achieve some big efficiencies in its operations, then
the new fees could be managed."

Those efficiencies can only come by reducing staffing in those areas. That is not going to be politically acceptable. My guess is that those who retire in June 2005 and 2006 will, for the most part, not be replaced. They are mostly direct-funded TSMs and TECs. SO, the taxes will go up because the ratio of support staff to direct-funded staff will increase. Of course, the new manager and the DOE will collude to mask the increased overhead rates. So, many things will be moved from overhead to recharge. Our accountants are quite creative. Such things as a recharge fee for processing time and effort are in our future. I can see the pay toilets coming. Maybe they will charge us for parking?
 
1:09 said it right about getting out before the mob. We were in Santa Fe over the weekend talking with a friend of ours who is a real estate agent. She says that the US housing market is starting to slow and the bubble could burst within the next year. Los Alamos is going to be hit doubly hard because of its isolation and the coming exodus of staff combined with layoffs. No one is going to buy those $600,000 houses on North Mesa when there are no new jobs at the Lab. Has anyone noticed that there are a huge number of properties for sale in Los Alamos and White Rock, and many have been on the market for over 6 months to a year? I remember when homes in LA would sell in 24 hours. Still holding out for top dollar on your 30 year old house on Barranca Mesa? Don't hold your breath. Take what you can get for it and get out of here.
 
Indeed, many of the above posts are on the pessimistic side. Painful to read!

Though I tend to be an optimist, I think these posters are unfortunately correct. The Lab will be undergoing big changes in the next few years or so, regardless of who wins the contract, and these changes will not be positive ones. What is also sad is that I don't believe we rank-and-file employees can influence the situation to become something better -- we're just along for the ride, or we can bail out.

Ironically, contrary to what many Lab folks thought at the time, eight years of the Clinton Administration were actually kind overall to LANL, given the end of the Cold War and the "Peace Dividend".

It's the Bush Administration that is driving the big changes coming, not the fallout from the Admiral Pete dynasty, not the poor leadership of the Lab, not the huge bureaucracy, and not safety and security incidents. These are just the excuses for public consumption and support. This Administration has a much different view of what the national labs should be doing and how they should be managed as compared to the past.
 
To Poster 7:42 AM, there will be lots of new managers coming into town from
either Bechtel or LM who would love to buy all those $600 K houses out
on the mesa. They just don't want to pay top dollar for them. You'll
probably have to sell out more cheaply if you want to leave this town.
Many of our new managers will be coming from markets with extremely
inflated housing prices. They'll be pleasantly surprised when they sell
their homes on the East and West coast and then see what that money can
buy in Los Alamos. For people leaving Los Alamos for other parts, you'll
probably see an inverse scenario. But first, you'll have to find a buyer
for your home. That is no easy task these days. I, too, remember when
the normal market in Los Alamos was so hot that you could sell your
house in only 24 hours. Those days are long gone.
 
I suspect that, if pitched properly, the houses here could be readily sold to the curious, idle rich folk from California, New York, etc. who would get a hoot from living in the birthplace of nuclear weaponry. Something cool to tell their friends back home. Sorta like the Santa Fe Syndrome......
 
11:35 asked for serious analysis of the situation at the Lab not just pithy remarks. I have a draft of such analysis (about 100 pages worth).

This analysis, unless something unexpected is done by LANL folk, agrees with much of what has been said in this thread.

I am willing to share this analysis and extend it. I am only willing to share it with people are willing to come out of their cloak of anonymity, at least in private, and who are willing to try to make a change for the better.

Any takers?
 
Analysis will not do anyone any good, the US Giv't will do what it thinks is the best and that is that.
 
This is my first post, but as a major contributor to GW and the current governor of California, I will be happy to see LockMart get the contract and end these in-state UC education subsidies or hand outs to LANL UC employees who get in state tuition at UC universities.
Let out of staters pay out of state tuition !
 
The word from Oakland is that once Lockheed takes over the contract for managing Los Alamos, the California in-state tuition deal for LANL employees' kids to attend UC schools is going to end. Even for those who are already enrolled under the current system. So if you have a kid in a UC school right now, and they're not going to graduate in the next year, you'll pay out-of-state tuition starting fall 2006.
 
I'm a staffer to the UC Regents and your NM Senators and Congressional Reps are making deals that are not being shared with LANL and the bid team.
There are some major perks for UC when LockMart gets the award.
 
So, UC is being bribed to take a fall?
 
Bribes were a big part of the deal.
 
Man, I really had hoped to get my two sons into the UC college system, which was part of the reason we decided to move here in the first place. With that opportunity gone, it is looking more and more like UNM in the future.
 
Bah! Now they're taking our UC in-state tuition away?
 
Better starting saving your money to write those big out-of-state tuition checks. Or, you can send your kids to one of our first-class regional universities where they can get a mediocre education at best.
 
Two things:

1. UC has made such a mess of things that they would very likely not win a fair competition.

2. I think that the fix is in for LM/UT.

I suspect that UC did not want to bid but had to do so in order to get LLNL.
 
1:06 - Better send 'em to one of our locale uneeversitees than to one of those lib'ral schools in the northeast.
 
In response to 6/28/2005 at 02:55:25 PM: Sure, Manny Arrogant would be pleased to have them at Highlands.
 
12:34, hardly surprising.
 
Or you can send your kids to Kansass State like our beloved Mush-master or Patches (as in hair).
 
Folks, take a deep breath. Look around. Use just a few of those overactive neurons you're all so proud of. The world isn't coming to an end. There isn't going to be a RIF. Everyone appreciates what you do, what you've done, and what you will do for the country in the future. But the adults are kind of busy right now with this war thing and the Chinese trying to buy the world's supply of oil, so please understand that you aren't anyone's highest priority.

Regardless of whether its UC/Bechtel or LM/UT here's how it will go, as it has at every other site where DOE has run off the original GOCO:

- regardless of original budget, GRT, or anything else, they inevitably pick a new operator from the govt.-industrial complex that exists to make money. So, money they will make. Everything that today OLASO, ALOO, NNSA, DNFSB, and the rest of the alphabet soup tells LANL to "take out of your hide, you have a $X billion budget," becomes a change order that the new contractor not only agrees to but adds 50% more people to just to make sure they do the job right (translated as make a lot of extra fee). Within a year after the contract changes there will be 20,000 + people coming to work in Los Alamos every day, maybe 30,000+. What do you think Domenici's going to do with all that money that isn't going to NIF? Most of you don't deserve it, but you're going to make a killing when you sell your house next year.

- "Science" as it once existed at LANL is something you are unlikely to see again. But hey, there hasn't been that kind of science at LANL for at least 10 years+, so it shouldn't be news to anyone who gets out once in awhile, or wonders where LANSCE gets its budget. When I was one of you, I watched the LDRD process become something between politics and charity-- LM/UT can't do much worse and will probably do better. UC might even wake up with Anastasio at the helm. But make no mistake, things will change. Embrace it, deny it, do whatever, but "Science" will change at LANL.

- In addition to all of the featherbedding, sorry, additional work required to complete all of the critical change orders, LANL will hire a lot of new staff to work more and more production activities. No most won't have doctorates in Physics. And yes, that does mean that LANL will be doing more and more of that ucky production work with materials that end in ium. Again, protest, write letters, tape a "kick me" sign to your back (you may be familiar with this mode of communication from your grade school days), dye your face blue, threaten to retire, whatever. The country needs a place to do limited production activities, you're in the middle of nowhere, and you have a plutonium facility. Guess what. Who knows, you might even find that the production grunts are real people. And they make great ringers for your bowling team. Oh, sorry, I forgot your town doesn't have a bowling alley. It will. It may even get another bar; or possibly White Rock will get A bar. A truck dealership! Dare I say it, a WAL MART!! A Wendy's!! No, two Wendy's!!! The possibilities are endless.

Everything will be OK. Now shut up and go back to work.
 
The contest is not a contest to manage Los Alamos National Laboratory but the Los Alamos Limited Liability Corporation that we will be working for regardless of who wins the competition. We will not be working for Lockheed or the University of California so we should who elect to stay in any tier transfer need to accommodate ourselves to that reality. Next year or whenever the Livermore contract goes into competition the same situation will be created there. They will not be working for the University of California either. The days when we can work under the umbrella of a university fig leave are gone forever and we are going to be extricated from the Paradise that in reality never was. Personally, since I'll be working for a corporation anyway (assuming that I'll stay) I had rather have my corporation managed by a corporation with a track record for managing corporations. If we were working for a limited liability university, the opposite would be true.
 
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